November 2012
Issue: 3
Presidential turkey in 2nd grade classroom
Photo courtesy of Minnesota Turkey Council and Growers
In This Issue
Teacher Feature
Grant Winners
Fantastic Resources
MAITC Education
Teacher Assessment Project
MAITC Annual Meeting
Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom 
Did you know that Minnesota leads the United States in turkey production with over 46 million turkeys? Did you know that the winner of the 2012 Minnesota State Fair's Giant Pumpkin Contest weighed over 1187 pounds? What a perfect time to share some fun facts that illustrate how we are all connected to agriculture - especially as we sit down at our Thanksgiving dinner table!  

Teacher Feature


Featured Teacher  - Ms. Michele Melius

7th grade US History and 8th grade Global Studies at Clearwater Middle School, Waconia


Why did you choose to become an educator?

I come from a family of educators ranging from Music to Social Studies. I had great teachers growing up in a tightly knit town in Southwestern Minnesota and hoped to inspire and share that enthusiasm and love of learning with others.

How has agriculture and the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Program impacted your students and instruction?

Anytime you are able to teach across curriculum and create authentic learning experiences you will find that a student has a better understanding of the subject. The AgMag has done a great job of providing engaging examples, activities and resources in all subject areas that explain the importance of agriculture to students of all ages.

What advice do you have for other teachers on implementing agriculture into their classroom? 

There are so many connections between agriculture and core subjects. If you want your students to really grasp a concept and relate to it, use a variety of teaching methods to apply agricultural examples that will encourage a more authentic and relevant learning experience.

Ms. Melius's Outstanding Agriculture Applications!

My school has always encouraged teachers to create, within their curriculum, a way for students to connect with their community. In 2008, Clearwater purchased and cultivated approximately three acres of farm land to establish Waconia's Edible Classroom.  This garden and orchard project was designed to foster environmental stewardship, promote healthy eating habits and enhance the school lunch program. Clearwater Middle School staff has been instrumental in nurturing this project and using it as a learning experience in all core subjects for our students.


Keeping the theme of Community, I used an Ag-Literacy grant to help fund a 7th grade field-trip to the MN Landscape Arboretum this fall. Working with Britta DeVinny, my science colleague and the Arb education staff, we created a bountiful buffet of attractions including 22 stations around the grounds. These stations covered a variety of topics such as: the science behind creating hardy plants, the importance of composting, scientific method, local geography and history were also incorporated.   A great majority of the field trip's content was in alignment with multiple 7th grade MN State History and Science Standards.


Michele Melius poses in a tractor tire.
Ms. Michele Melius poses in a tractor tire as a participant in the MN Alliance for Geographic Education 2012 summer agriculture tour.


Grant Winners!

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom proudly sponsors an agricultural literacy grant program. Cash awards (maximum of $400) are offered to encourage educators to bring agriculture and food systems education to life by integrating related content into their classroom or school.Grant applications are accepted and awarded twice a year  - October 1st and February 15th. Congratulations to the first round of winners for the 2012-2013 school year!  Complete list of grant winners.

Fantastic Resources   

Minnesota Agriculture is Everywhere Poster/Placemat

This bright colored and eye-catching resource contains fun facts that students love and includes a handy map of Minnesota agriculture crops and animals. Available FREE on the MN Agriculture in the Classroom website. 

Website - Sci4Kids, Agriculture Research Service
Dig into this website and discover how agricultural research influences our lives in surprising ways. Features include Science Spotlight, Science Projects, Cool Careers and Teacher's Desk.  
Cargill Global Food Challenge

The Global Food Challenge is an opportunity for 9-12 grade students to use food to develop and demonstrate their skills in research, writing, economics, creativity, and problem solving. Secondary instructors can utilize the four well-written and organized units to focus on world food trade, food markets, food safety and food security. Available online. 

Children's Literature - The Ojibwa:Wild Rice Gatherers

ISBN 0-7368-1537-6

Read this intermediate level book to understand the significance of wild rice to the Ojibwa and the role this Minnesota grain plays in our state's history and culture. Included in the MN Ag in the Classroom Book Bundle.
MAITC Shares Ideas for Agricultural Literacy  

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Education Specialist, Sue Knott, has been traveling Minnesota to share hands-on activities, lesson plans and teaching techniques with the topic of agriculture as the context. Pre-service teachers at Bethany Lutheran College, Crown College, College of St. Benedict, St. Catherine's University, St. Cloud State University, Saint Mary's University, and the University of Minnesota, Morris have been excited about putting the MAITC resources to use in their student teaching experiences and future classrooms. In-service teachers at the Southwest Minnesota Reading Council, Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education GEOFEST, Education Minnesota Conference and Minnehaha Elementary School in Two Harbors, MN have also been enthusiastic about incorporating agricultural topics into their science, social studies, language arts, and health lessons.  Additional visits with educators are continuing throughout the year. 

St. Ben's college students display maps they made.
Pre-service teachers at the College of St. Benedict's display their maps showing where wheat, soybeans and corn are grown in Minnesota.



Teacher Scholarships for National Conference! 

National Ag in the Classroom logo  

June 25-28, 2013

Marriott City Center

Minneapolis, MN

The CHS Foundation has generously provided a $15,000 grant which will allow 40 teachers to attend the 2013 Agriculture in the Classroom National Conference. Engaging workshops, tours, keynote speakers and networking events will provide exceptional learning opportunities for these teachers to increase their comfort level in agricultural topics and also integrate agricultural content into instruction to meet academic standards in health, language arts, math, science, and social studies.   Scholarship Applications must be submitted by March 1, 2013.

The 2013 Ag in the Classroom National Conference is open to educators, volunteers, agricultural advocates and anyone else interested in discovering new possibilities for advancing agricultural literacy.  Mark your calendar to attend June 25-28 in Minneapolis!


Wanted: Teacher Input!

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom is beginning a teacher assessment project to determine the usability and effectiveness of the resources we provide to K-12 educators. We would like to use the information provided through this project to eliminate unused resources, make modifications to current materials, and create additional resources not currently available but that teachers express a need for.  If you or an educator you know would be willing to participate in a short survey and/or focus group please contact Sue Knott.
MN Ag in Classroom Foundation Board members Karolyn Zurn and Sarah Dornink
MAITC Foundation Board members Karolyn Zurn and Sarah Dornink
MAITC Foundation Annual Meeting
The MAITC Foundation held its annual meeting October 22, 2012 at the Second Harvest Heartland Food Bank in Golden Valley.  Supporters and financial donors were recognized.
New Funders
RDO Equipment
Milestone Funders
10 year funders
Davisco Foods
Steele Waseca Coop
15 year funder
MN Veterinary Medical Assn
20 year funders
MN Ag Aircraft Assn
West Central Ag Sales
25 year funders
MN Agri-Women
MN Farm Bureau
MN Soybean Research and  Promotion Council
Northarvest Bean Growers Assn
At the conclusion of the meeting attendees were able to provide volunteer services to help repackage frozen foods for distribution to individuals in need.
Upcoming Events

November 13, 2012 
Minnesota Agri-Growth Council Annual Meeting
Minneapolis, MN
November 17-18, 2012
Minnesota Farmers Union State Convention
Minneapolis, MN
November 22, 2012
Thanksgiving Holiday
November 30-December 1 
MN Farm Bureau Conference
Bloomington, MN
The first two individuals to respond with the correct answer will win a reusable grocery bag courtesy of MN Grown! 
Native Americans gave the first European settlers in the New World seeds of which three crops that are commonly referred to as the "Three Sisters"?
Send answers to
Congratulations to September's trivia winner Jacob Robinson!  Jacob knew that Minnesota's official state soil is Lester and is the proud owner of a MN Grown T-shirt.   


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Sue Knott                                                Al Withers
MAITC Education Specialist                      MAITC Program Director                  
651-201-6486                                           651-201-6886